Imagine Nashville releases data on city-wide values

February 28, 2024

Group plans to deliver recommendations based on Nashvillians’ desires

Nashville, Tenn. (February 28, 2024) – Imagine Nashville has released data based on research of more than 10,000 Davidson County residents, information that the group says will help create recommendations for a better Nashville.

A team of 25 community leaders form the steering committee guiding Imagine Nashville. The three co-chairs leading the initiative are John Faison Sr., senior pastor of Watson Grove Baptist Church (The Grove); Renata Soto, founder and president of Mosaic Changemakers; and Dr. Alex Jahangir, Vanderbilt University Medical Center orthopedic surgeon and former Nashville COVID-19 czar.

“I’ll never forget our first steering committee meeting,” Faison said. “People walked in the room and nobody knew everybody. That’s how we knew we had gotten the right team.

The research was the first phase of the initiative, and now the group says it will use those findings to create actionable ideas for the city to take up in different ways — from government policy to nonprofit action to private-sector innovation.

“So it’s a lot of pieces but there’s some low hanging fruit,” Faison said. “There’s some stuff that we can grab and address and if we don’t solve — chip away. So, I think the win is: Organizations see their place in the solutions and they start to work towards those and the data becomes the instrument that affirms and validates the approach.”

The group commissioned Heart+Mind Strategies to conduct values-based research on the city that aims to address the challenges citizens face.

A key point in the research was that Nashvillians feel a strong sense of belonging — but 57 percent of low-income families “feel left out or excluded from the opportunities and benefits of living here.” There is also 72 percent of respondents who said they see “a growing divide between rich and poor.”

The data addresses how many people feel the positives of living in Nashville are not necessarily the things that are most important or impactful for their quality of life. The city’s shortcomings, according to the data, include traffic and public transportation, affordable housing and cost of living, and growth management.

“I think 30 years from now I would want people to look back and say ‘They moved the needle. They got the process started,’” Faison said.

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